Fluid transfer device
A disposable device for the sterile transfer of fluids, such as liquids or gases, includes a body, a bore formed through at least a portion of the interior of the body, and a linearly moveable plunger contained within the bore. The body is formed from a rotating section and a stationary section. Partial rotation of the rotating section around a portion of the stationary section and the plunger drives the plunger linearly within the bore, opening and closing the device. The plunger includes at least a first and a second opening, and a fluid channel in the interior of the plunger connecting the first and second openings forming a fluid pathway to downstream components when the device is open. A termination component at one end of the plunger connects to a downstream component. A flange at one end of the body attaches to an upstream component. When the device is closed, the upstream end of the plunger is in alignment with the upstream flange of the body, forming a steamable sterilized in place face and a sterile barrier.
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This application is a continuation of U.S. application Ser. No. 13/827,747 filed Mar. 14, 2013, which is a continuation of U.S. application Ser. No. 12/291,814 filed Nov. 13, 2008 (U.S. Pat. No. 8,690,120 issued Apr. 8, 2014), which claims priority to U.S. Provisional Application No. 61/003,364 filed Nov. 16, 2007, the disclosures of which are herewith incorporated by reference in their entirety.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
In the pharmaceutical, biotechnology and even food, beverage and cosmetic industries, it is often desired to provide large scale processing systems that are capable of handling fluids in a sterile manner. These large scale processing systems are designed to prevent unwanted and often dangerous organisms, such as bacteria, as well as unwanted and potentially harmful environmental contaminants, such as dust, dirt and the like from entering into the process stream and/or end product. In order to prevent these types of outside contaminants from entering these systems it is desirable to have a completely sealed processing system. However, completely closed processing systems are not always possible since there is a need for the introduction or removal of materials from the process stream in order to add components of the product, such as media or buffers to a bioreactor; withdraw samples from the process stream to check for microbial contamination, quality control, process control, etc; and to collect the product into its final container such as vials, syringes, sealed boxes, bottles and the like.
Traditionally, processing systems have been made of stainless steel, wherein the stainless steel systems are exposed to live steam before use, and then cleaned with chemicals such as caustic solutions after use, to ensure that all contaminants and the like are removed. Steaming is the most effective means of sterilization. The use of steam in a set system is known as steaming in place or SIP. Saturated steam carries 200 times the BTU heat transfer capacity of heated air because of the latent heat released by the steam as it changes from vapor to liquid.
However, several disadvantages exist with the use of steam. Any connection to, or opening of, the processing system made after the system has been steamed in place is an aseptic (but not sterile) connection or opening. This increases the risk of contamination of the entire system. Typically alcohol wipes or an open flame are used to clean the components intended to be connected to the system, (e.g., connecting a sample collection bag to a system after SIP has occurred) and thus minimizes the risk of contamination.
Also, the high temperatures and pressure differentials associated with steam make the selection of filter materials and other components difficult and limited. Additionally, accidental pressure differential at high temperatures can cause a filter, membrane or other non-steel component to fail.
Processing systems that are reused need to undergo rigorous testing and validation to prove to the necessary regulatory authorities that the system is sterile before each use. The validation process and the required cleaning regiment of a previously used system are expensive and time consuming, typically taking up to 1 to 2 years for approval. In addition, certain components are difficult to adequately clean after use in preparation for their next use. Since manufacturers are often looking for ways to reduce both the costs and the time to market for their products, one possible approach at reducing costs and time to market for a product is to adopt an all disposable system that is set up in a sterile fashion, used once and then discarded.
Another possible approach to alleviating the time and expense associated with a systems' cleaning regiment is the use of disposable components for certain reusable components that are more expensive and/or time consuming to clean than other components.
Additionally, disposable components that are used in place of time consuming to clean reusable components should be easy to remove and replace. For example, the ease with which large scale disposable fluid transfer devices, such as valves or connectors, can be removed and replaced, and the manner in which large scale disposable assemblies are integrated into traditional stainless steel processing systems via disposable fluid transfer devices, have the potential to reduce processing costs and improve the efficacy and productivity of these systems.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
The present invention relates to a sterile transfer device for fluids, wherein the fluids are liquids or gases. In one embodiment, the transfer device includes a body, a bore formed through at least a portion of the interior of the body, and a linearly moveable plunger contained within the bore. In one embodiment, the bore is a lateral central bore formed through the entire interior length of the body, wherein the body is formed from a rotating first section and a stationary second section, such that the first section rotates around a portion of the stationary second section and the plunger. The rotation of the first section engages the stationary second section and the plunger, driving the plunger linearly within the bore, thereby actuating (i.e., opening/closing) the fluid transfer device. One end of the body includes a connecting component for attaching the device to an upstream component, and one end of the plunger includes a connecting component for attaching the device to a downstream component. In one embodiment, the plunger includes first and second openings, and a fluid channel in at least a portion of the interior of the plunger, connecting the first and second openings, thereby forming a pathway for fluid to travel from an upstream component to a downstream component when the fluid transfer device is in the opened position. When the device is in the closed position, the first end of the plunger is in alignment with the connecting component at one end of the body, forming a seal against fluid in the upstream component from entering the device, thereby forming a steamable face and a sterile barrier against environmental contaminants for any downstream component.
In another embodiment, the present invention relates to a fluid transfer device in use, wherein the device is in the closed position and attached to a downstream component(s), such as tubing connected to a bag, at one end of the plunger at a connecting component. Next, the entire fluid transfer device and the attached downstream component are sterilized, such as with gamma radiation or the like. Next, an upstream component (s), such as a filter outlet, a tank outlet, or a pipe is attached to a face formed at another end of the device when the device is the closed position. This face is formed when a connecting component at one end of the body is in alignment with the bottom portion. Next, the upstream component attached to the device at the face, are then steam sterilized in place (SIP). Finally, the device is then opened when needed, establishing a sterile pathway for fluids traveling from the upstream component through the fluid transfer device to the downstream component.
In another embodiment, the present invention relates to a disposable fluid transfer device for use in traditional stainless steel processing systems or disposable processing systems. The fluid transfer device of the present invention provides a steam sterilizing mating point between the transfer device and an upstream component, and a sterilizable mating point between the transfer device and a downstream component. Additionally, the transfer device can be conveniently removed from the processing system and discarded after use, thereby not requiring a cleaning regiment.
In another embodiment, the present invention also relates to disposable large scale fluid transfer devices for the integration of large scale disposable upstream and/or downstream assemblies into traditional stainless steel systems or disposable systems. The fluid transfer device of the present invention provides a steam sterilizing mating point between the transfer device and an upstream component, and a sterilizable mating point between the transfer device and a downstream component. Additionally, the transfer device can be conveniently removed from the processing system and discarded after use, thereby not requiring any cleaning regiment.
IN THE DRAWINGS
The present invention will become more fully understood from the detailed description given herein below and the accompanying drawings which are given by way of illustration only, and thus are not limitative of the present invention, and wherein:
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
In general, the present invention is a sterile fluid transfer device, such as a flow-through connector or valve, wherein the fluids are liquids and/or gases. In one embodiment, the fluid transfer device has a body, a bore located in the interior of the body, and a linearly movable plunger contained within the bore. The body is formed from a first and a second section. The first section has a first end containing a first opening and a termination attachment component, such as a flange or the like surrounding the first opening for attaching the body to an upstream component(s). The second section has a second end containing a second opening, wherein the bore connects the first and second openings. The first section rotates around a portion of the second section.
The linearly movable plunger includes a first end containing a first opening, a second end containing a second opening, a fluid channel located in the interior of the plunger connecting the first and second openings of the plunger. In one embodiment, the plunger includes a component for inhibiting its rotation, while promoting its linear movement within the bore during rotation of the first section of the body when the device is actuated (i.e., opened/closed).
The fluid transfer device is in the closed position when the first end of the plunger is in alignment with the termination attachment component surrounding the first opening of the body, thereby forming a fluid resistant seal and a steamable face. The device is in the opened position when the first end of the plunger is not in alignment with the termination attachment component surrounding the first opening of the body, thereby permitting fluids to enter the device from an upstream component.
To the extent that the same reference numbers apply to the figures they have been kept the same.
One embodiment of the invention shown in
As shown in
As shown in
As shown in
Plunger 62 also has at least two openings, a first opening 64 and a second opening 66. A channel 68 is located in the interior of the plunger and connects the first and second openings (62, 64), thereby forming a fluid pathway to a downstream component. As shown in
One embodiment of the invention as depicted in
As shown in
As shown in
Additionally, by preventing the plunger from rotating when the device is opened or closed, the problem of torsion between device 12 and an attached upstream or downstream component can be averted, since it is not necessary to twist or turn the upstream or downstream components, or the device, when removing or actuating the device since the plunger moves within the bore linearly, and not rotationally.
As shown in
As shown in
As shown in
By way of example, the downstream components attached to the device by the termination connection feature on the plunger can be plastic tubing 72 and the like, as shown in
By way of example, the upstream component attached to the device can be a pipe, a stainless steel or disposable plastic tank having an outlet, and the like, having an attachment flange 88 (as depicted in
When using device 12 to fill a downstream component such as a bag, or any collection vessel attached the tubing 72, the device is opened by rotating section 28 of the body, which moves the plunger 62 linearly (see
One or more seals are arranged along the length and end of the plunger 62 to form a fluid tight seal between various portions of the plunger 62 and the bore 20 when the device is in the closed or opened positions. As shown in
As shown in
Other embodiments of the present invention are also contemplated, such as molding the device 12 into a disposable plastic container such as a disposable process bag for the manufacture and transfer of biotech products and the like. Such bags are readily available from companies such as HyClone (which is part of Thermo Fisher Scientific) of Logan, Utah and Stedim Biosystems of Concord, Calif.
Since the fluid transfer device 12 is preferably provided in a sterile condition, (i.e., the interior of the system and any component connected downstream of the device is pre-sterilized such as with gamma radiation, ethylene gas or the like and shipped in a sterile condition), some type of use indicator (not shown) may be helpful, and capable of informing a user when a system has been used. As an alternative, or in addition to any of the indicator mechanisms discussed above, a shrink wrap indicator (not shown) may be located over the device or at least over the rotating first section of the device to indicate whether the device had been used.
The device is preferably formed a plastic material and may be formed by machining the body and plunger assemblies and then applying the necessary seals and the like, or preferably by molding the body and the plunger separately and assembling them together with the necessary seals and other components. Alternatively, the body may be molded into two separate halves and assembled by attaching the plunger component with the necessary seals and other components to one half of the body, followed by the attaching the remaining half of the body to the plunger, necessary seals, other components, and the first half of the body.
The device may be made of any plastic material capable of withstanding in line steam sterilization. The temperature and pressure of such sterilization is typically about 121° C. and 1 bar above atmospheric pressure. In some instances, it may be desirable to use even harsher conditions such as 142° C. and up to 3 bar above atmospheric pressure. The body and at least the face of the plunger should be capable of withstanding these conditions. Preferably, the entire device is made of the same material and is capable of withstanding these conditions. Suitable materials for this device include but are not limited to PEI (polyetherimide), PEEK, PEK, polysulphones, polyarlysulphones, polyalkoxysulphones, polyethersulphones, polyphenyleneoxide, polyphenylenesulphide and blends thereof. Alternatively, one can make the face portion from ceramic or metal inserts alone, or that are overmolded with a plastic cover. One can also form a polymeric face with a metal outer layer using plasma coating processes.
The seals of the present invention can be made of a variety of materials typically used for making resilient seals. These materials include but are not limited to natural rubber, synthetic rubbers, such as silicone rubbers, including room temperature vulcanizable silicone rubbers, catalyzed (such as by platinum catalysts) silicone rubbers and the like, thermoplastic elastomers such as SANTOPRENE® elastomers, polyolefins such as polyethylene or polypropylene, especially those containing gas bubbles introduced either by a blowing agent or entrained gas such as carbon dioxide, PTFE resin, thermoplastic perfluoropolymer resins such as PFA and MFA resins available from Ausimont, USA Inc., of Thorofare, N.J. and E.I. DuPont de Nemours of Wilmington, Del., urethanes, especially closed cell foam urethanes, KYNAR® PVDF resin, VITON® elastomer, EPDM rubber, KALREZ resin and blends of the above.
Suitable materials for molded in place seals can be curable rubbers, such as room temperature vulcanizable silicone rubbers, thermoplastic elastomers such as SANTOPRENE® elastomers, polyolefins such as polyethylene or polypropylene, especially those containing gas bubbles introduced either by a blowing agent or entrained gas such as carbon dioxide and elastomeric fluoropolymers.
Other materials used in the devices should also be FDA grade components such as FDA grade silicones, PTFE resins and the like.
The present invention provides a sterile and steam sterilizable in place connecting device for fluid transfer. It may be single actuation (one open one close) or it may be multiple actuations with a single sterile connection (multiple openings and closings) so long as the sterile connection upstream and downstream is maintained. Additionally, with the use of multiple seals or seals of long length, one is able to ensure that the sterility of the device is maintained even with multiple actuations.
Many modifications and variations of this invention can be made without departing from its spirit and scope, as will be apparent to those skilled in the art. The specific embodiments described herein are offered by way of example only and are not meant to be limiting in any way. It is intended that the specification and examples be considered as exemplary only, with a true scope and spirit of the invention being indicated by the following claims.
1. A fluid transfer device comprising:
- a body;
- an elongate passage having an interior wall and extending through the body and having a proximal end and a distal end;
- a longitudinally displaceable plunger disposed in and extending along the passage, the plunger having a proximal end and a distal end and having a first position displaced toward the distal end of the passage and a second position displaced toward the proximal end of the passage;
- at least one static diaphragm seal mounted on the proximal end of the plunger to form a fluid tight seal between the plunger and the passage, said static diaphragm seal remaining intact during movement of said plunger from said first position to said second position and back to said first position;
- a gland seal; and
- a fluid transfer opening positioned between the proximal end of the plunger and the distal end of the plunger;
- wherein the body comprises a first section and a second section, wherein rotation of the first section relative to the second section causes longitudinal displacement of the plunger, and wherein the longitudinal displacement of the plunger towards its first position opens the passage to form a substantially aseptic fluid pathway from an upstream component to a downstream component through the fluid transfer opening and a channel in the interior of the plunger; and
- wherein the gland seal is arranged along a length of the plunger, a first portion of the gland seal being retained within a groove on a surface of the first section of the body and a second portion of the gland seal being retained within a groove on the plunger, and wherein the gland seal stretches to accommodate the displacement of and maintain a seal about the plunger.
2. The device of claim 1, wherein the diaphragm seal is attached to the proximal end of the plunger and seals the passage at the proximal end thereof.
3. The device of claim 2, wherein the diaphragm seal is disposed at least partially inside the proximal end of the passage prior to displacement of the plunger.
4. The device of claim 1, wherein the gland seal seals the passage at a location intermediate the diaphragm seal and the distal end of the passage.
5. The device of claim 1, wherein the plunger extends through and is sealingly secured to the gland seal.
6. The device of claim 1, further comprising a substantially aseptic tank mount.
7. The device of claim 1, wherein the at least one seal is constructed of a silicone elastomer.
8. The device of claim 1, wherein the at least one seal is constructed of a solvent resistant fluoroelastomer.
9. The device of claim 1, wherein the body comprises a substantially cylindrical outer portion, and at least one alignment slot for the plunger.
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Filed: Mar 28, 2016
Date of Patent: Apr 2, 2019
Patent Publication Number: 20160208927
Assignee: EMD Millipore Corporation (Burlington, MA)
Inventors: Jeff Hartnett (West Roxbury, MA), Alf Lofving (Torslanda), Lars Hultquist (Alvangen), Jan Davidsson (Kode), Lennart Myhrberg (Alvangen)
Primary Examiner: Marina Tietjen
Application Number: 15/082,495
International Classification: F16K 1/12 (20060101); F16K 31/528 (20060101); A61M 39/22 (20060101); F04B 39/00 (20060101);